Martin Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils are threatening to run away with their second straight Atlantic Division title.
They look for their fifth win in six games overall and try to defeat the New York Islanders for the third time in two weeks when the teams meet Saturday night at Nassau Coliseum.
The Devils (26-14-4) improved to 7-1-1 since Christmas with a 2-1 victory over the Atlanta Thrashers on Friday. The hot stretch has included two victories over the Islanders, 2-0 on Long Island Dec. 30 and a 4-3 win on Jan. 4 at home.
Brodeur stopped 72 of 75 shots he faced in the wins over the Isles while improving his lifetime mark against them to 34-17-2 with four ties and a 2.27 goals-against average. The 34 wins are tied with the New York Rangers for his most wins against any opponent.
Brodeur has been in net for each of the last nine games and has been especially stellar over that span, posting a 1.55 GAA, a .948 save percentage and three shutouts. He made 25 saves against Atlanta on Friday.
Scott Gomez and Sergei Brylin scored power-play goals 28 seconds apart in the third period to provide all the scoring New Jersey would need to snap its six-game losing streak against the Thrashers.
"Everybody did a good job," Gomez said. "Especially against a team like Atlanta. They are the real deal. We had to prove to ourselves that we could beat that team."
The victory pulled the Devils even with the Thrashers with 56 points - second-most in the Eastern Conference. It also extended their Atlantic Division lead to eight points over the Rangers and 11 over the third-place Islanders (21-19-3).
New Jersey has also won five of its last six road games to raise its record there above .500 after opening the season 6-9-1 away from home.
The Islanders return home after winning the final two games on a four-game road trip. They beat the Rangers 5-3 on Tuesday to snap a season-high six-game losing skid, then defeated Boston 5-4 in a shootout on Thursday.
Jason Blake and Miroslav Satan scored in the shootout to lift the Isles, but perhaps more importantly, Tom Poti and Viktor Kozlov scored power-play goals in regulation. New York went 2-for-3 with the man advantage after going just 2-for-39 on the power play over the previous 10 games.
"During our six-game losing streak our power play had struggled," Islanders coach Ted Nolan said. "We get a goal or two and we might have won one or two of those and tonight it was the difference."
Alexei Yashin snapped a personal seven-game points drought with an assist on Kozlov's tally, which tied the game in the final two minutes of regulation. In the 35 games he's played this season, the Islanders are 17-5-1 when Yashin records at least one point, compared with 1-9-2 when he has no points.
Yashin had three assists on Nov. 2 when the Isles beat the Devils 5-2 at Continental Airlines Arena, but failed to register a point in New York's two recent losses to New Jersey.
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